Convert one date format into another in PHP


Is there a simple way to convert one date format into another date format in PHP?

I have this:

$old_date = date('y-m-d-h-i-s');            // works

$middle = strtotime($old_date);             // returns bool(false)

$new_date = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $middle);   // returns 1970-01-01 00:00:00

But I'd of course like it to return a current date rather than the crack 'o dawn. What am I doing wrong?

6/5/2019 7:07:33 PM

Accepted Answer

The second parameter to date() needs to be a proper timestamp (seconds since January 1, 1970). You are passing a string, which date() can't recognize.

You can use strtotime() to convert a date string into a timestamp. However, even strtotime() doesn't recognize the y-m-d-h-i-s format.

PHP 5.3 and up

Use DateTime::createFromFormat. It allows you to specify an exact mask - using the date() syntax - to parse incoming string dates with.

PHP 5.2 and lower

You will have to parse the elements (year, month, day, hour, minute, second) manually using substr() and hand the results to mktime() that will build you a timestamp.

But that's a lot of work! I recommend using a different format that strftime() can understand. strftime() understands any date input short of the next time joe will slip on the ice. for example, this works:

$old_date = date('l, F d y h:i:s');              // returns Saturday, January 30 10 02:06:34
$old_date_timestamp = strtotime($old_date);
$new_date = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', $old_date_timestamp);   
10/6/2010 1:11:04 PM

The easiest way to do this is

$myDateTime = DateTime::createFromFormat('Y-m-d', $dateString);
$newDateString = $myDateTime->format('m/d/Y');

You are first giving it the format $dateString is in. Then you are telling it the format you want $newDateString to be in.

This also avoids the use of strtotime, which can be hard to work with at times.

If you are not transforming from one date format to another, but just want the current date (or datetime) in a specific format then it's even easier:

$now = new DateTime();
$timestring = $now->format('Y-m-d h:i:s');

This other question also refers to the same topic: Convert date format yyyy-mm-dd => dd-mm-yyyy.

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